Onorato, Corbett spar over borrowing measure

Republican Tom Corbett’s gubernatorial campaign is criticizing Governor Rendell for signing a 300 million dollar bond measure into law.

As part of the budget compromise, Governor Rendell and lawmakers agreed to raise Pennsylvania’s debt ceiling by $600 million. The governor is directing half of those funds to pet projects, and the General Assembly will distribute the remaining grants later this year.

Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley says the bond measures are irresponsible. “Now’s not the time to be borrowing more money to fund projects, regardless of their worth,” he says. “Fiscal discipline needs to be the order of the day, not continuing borrowing and spending and taxing.”

Harley adds Corbett isn’t against all debt projects. He just think this one is poorly timed.

Corbett’s opponent, Democrat Dan Onorato, says the Attorney General is playing to both sides of the aisle, when it comes to bond issues. Onorato’s campaign points out a Corbett policy paper, as Harley notes, supports “the prudent use of debt” to fund infrastructure projects. But in a Commonwealth Foundation candidate questionnaire, Corbett agreed the state shouldn’t take on any new debt. Onorato spokesman Brian Herman calls that a flip-flop. “He has agreed with the principle that Pennsylvania should not incur additional debt. He said it. He filled it out on the questionnaire. So if he’s saying now that sometimes it’s ok, again it’s just another example of his inconsistency.”

Harley maintains Corbett would have vetoed the bond measure. Herman wouldn’t give a clear-cut answer, saying Onorato’s stance would depend on how many jobs the various projects create.

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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